Sensitivity of beit alpha cucumber (cucumis sativus l.) To low temperature storage

Alfredo M. Villalta, Steven A. Sargent, Adrian D. Berry, Donald J. Huber

Abstract


Beit Alpha cucumbers (Cucumis sativus cv. Manar) were developed in Israel and, like European (Dutch-type) cucumbers, are grown in protected culture and are seedless. Unlike European cucumbers, Beit Alpha cucumbers are significantly smaller, generally from 5 to 7 inches (125 to 175 mm) in length, and outstanding in flavor. This new crop presents exciting opportunities for Florida growers since it grows well at higher ambient temperatures. Previous research at the University of Florida indicates that Beit Alpha cucumbers produced earlier and more total marketable fruit than European cucumbers. Successful introduction and marketing of Beit Alpha cucumbers will be highly dependent upon adequate postharvest handling, which underscores the need for reliable data on cooling methods, packaging, optimal storage and transportation conditions. Unwaxed, Beit Alpha cucumbers ('Manar') were stored in rigid, polystyrene clamshell containers at 41, 45, 50 and 54 F (5.0, 7.5, 10.0 or 12.5 C) for 21 days. Since U.S. grade standards for Beit Alpha cucumbers do not currently exist, Canadian grade standards were used to assess quality. Fruits stored at 5 and 7.5 C developed visible chilling injury symptoms by 7 and 14 days, respectively. External yellowing was evident on fruit stored for 14 days at 5.0 and 7.5 C, while fruit stored at 10.0 did not develop external yellowing until 21 days in storage. Fruit stored at 12.5 C did not develop chilling injury but by 21 days developed a high number of protuberances (bumps) that negatively affected appearance. These protuberances also developed to a lesser extent on fruit stored at 7.5 and 10.0 C. Although Beit Alpha cucumbers stored safely at 7.5 C for 7 days, for commercial handlers storage recommendations are 10.0 C for up to 14 days without significant loss in quality.

Keywords


cucumis sativus; chilling injury; cucumbers; storage

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283